Segments Online Transcripts

Segments online Workshops

The Festival is very grateful to practitioner Sara-Jane Arbury for adjusting to life in lockdown and delivering these workshops on line. Make yourself a cup of tea and imagine you are in a group, and let Sara-Jane’s  instructions gently lead you through a very enjoyable writing session.

Segments is a poetry workshop which gains inspiration from artefacts from Ledbury’s Butcher Row museum, and uses them as springboards for poetry, memories and discussion. The sessions are free, drop-in, and need no former experience. All are welcome. See poster for dates and message manager@poetry-festival.co.uk for registration link. In these lockdown sessions, Sara Jane finds artefacts from her own home and we are finding them very fruitful springboards for poetry-making.

Scroll down (and down, and down – it’s a long post) for March, April, May, June and August transcripts.

Segments October Workshop. Theme: Indoor Nature

EXERCISE ONE: Warm-up writing exercise – Mystery Objects!
Read The Guardian article about mystery objects and the British Science Museum here: https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2020/jul/19/science-museum-asks-public-to-help-identify-mystery-items
Look at these two mystery objects from their collection of Mystery Objects. I have attached images of them but you can also find them here if you scroll down:
 https://www.theguardian.com/science/gallery/2020/jul/19/mystery-objects-from-the-science-museum-in-pictures

Item 1 (the horizontal item): This item is part of Sir Henry Wellcome’s museum collection. Its purpose is unknown. It was made between 1750 – 1850 using steel and wood
Item 2 (the vertical item): Very little is known about this device.
Pick one and write an article about it for a museum brochure. Decide what you think the object might be, describe it, what it was used for, who used it, its origins, who made it, where it was found, has it a colourful history, any stories attached to it, etc…
For further information, the Science Museum blog gives links to the collection and what happens with objects that aren’t identified: https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/solving-mysteries-in-the-collection/

EXERCISE TWO: The theme for this exercise is INDOOR NATURE
Let’s start with houseplants. Sales of houseplants have boomed during lockdown. Research suggests foliage can boost mental, emotional and physical health. Poetry holds similar powers, and may be part of the reason poetry and nature have always forged a connection.
The physical changes we see in plants can mirror our own personal growth and transformations. Consider “roots” and how we nourish or neglect them. How we flourish and regenerate, wilt, renew ourselves.
One of the many theories behind the recent houseplant boom is that it represents an attempt for humans to reconnect with nature in the midst of an increasingly corporate, technology-driven way of life.
Look at the following poems. Both poems and commentary can be found here:
https://www.readpoetry.com/4-poems-for-plant-lovers/
Bringing In The House-plants by Tony Connor (English poet and playwright born in Manchester in 1930. This poem, written in 1980, precedes the current houseplant craze, yet captures much of its meaning and momentum. Connor illustrates how caring for plant companions awakens our most nurturing instincts, tapping into an innate ability to love)
Peace Lilies by Cathy Smith Bowers (American poet. Our cultural tendency to give plants and flowers as shows of sympathy and as housewarming gifts reveals their ability to comfort us, as well as provide a homey presence in new, unsettling situations. Bowers sees plants as a reminder of grief, but also a soothing, physical manifestation of connections and relationships that are never truly lost)

Now let’s broaden the theme. Consider objects that you have brought into your home from outdoors. This does not include food items. For example, do you have a shell in your house? Feathers? Decorative stones/pebbles? Artworks/ornaments made from outdoor natural materials? Any other items of outdoor nature that you have brought into your home? The items almost become exhibits or part of the collection in your own ‘museum-home’. Here are pictures of items I have in my home: a key-ring containing a bug, seeds, a sprig of heather given to me by a friend while walking in Scotland many years ago, a shell from New Zealand, a fossil, darts with feathers from birds of prey, a picture made of Morphos Butterfly wings.

Look at this poem: Boy At The Window by Richard Wilbur (1921-2017; an American poet and literary translator. The poem is based on personification and unexpected points of view (the snowman’s) revealing an unsuspected truth. The poem follows an abbabcbc abbabcbc rhyme pattern and has ten syllables per line). The poem can be found here if you scroll down, though I urge you to read the poem Snow by Louis MacNeice and the commentary too:
http://thestoneandthestar.blogspot.com/2011/11/louis-macneices-snow-poem-about-being.html

EXERCISE THREE: Indoor Nature Poetry
Write a poem inspired by the items shown here, items you may have and/or theme. Here are some suggestions for ways in to writing your poem:
Write a personification poem from the point of view of the object. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? Memories? How different is its life now compared to its life outdoors? Does it yearn for the outdoors?
Write a poem inspired by the theme that evokes a personal memory for you. How did you come by the object? What is its significance to you? What do you like about it? Is there a story about why it ended up in its present form and/or in your house?
Write an ode to your object – a poem in praise of your object; a thank-you poem – taking into account its beauty as a natural object that would have existed outdoors perhaps in a different form, its former natural state, its function now, how it makes you feel. Praise small details about what it looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like. Here’s a quote about houseplants from gardening author Patricia R. Barrett: ‘Connection with… potted plants can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer.’
Maybe use a poetic form from the example poems, eg: personification (Boy At The Window / Peace Lilies) rhyme and internal rhymes (all three poems), repeated structures and patterns (all three poems) experimental form (Peace Lilies), conversational style and tone (Bringing In The House-Plants)

And, of course, you may write a poem about the theme in your own way and in your own style!

© Sara-Jane Arbury

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England and the Garfield Weston Foundation for supporting the Festival’s Community Programme

 

Segments September Workshop. Theme: Horology

EXERCISE ONE: This is a warm-up writing exercise called The Rule Of Three

This exercise is in 3 parts. Use a fresh piece of paper each time.
Part 1: Write a poem or a story or a stream of consciousness piece where your first word is ‘If’. Take 5 minutes to do this.
Part 2: Circle a word in your piece of writing that appeals to you in some way. Now write a second poem/story/piece where the word you’ve circled is the last word. 5 minutes.
Part 3: Circle a word in this second piece of writing that appeals to you. Now write a third poem/story/piece where the word you’ve circled is the title. 5 minutes.

You should have three separate pieces of writing. This is raw material of words, phrases, lines and sentences that can be used to develop ideas or use in poems elsewhere. Don’t throw them away! A valuable writing exercise that makes you think about words and the writing process in three different ways.

EXERCISE TWO: The theme of this exercise is HOROLOGY / THE STUDY OF TIME AND TIMEPIECES

Here is some information about the theme:

Horology is the scientific study of time. Specifically, horology involves the measurement of time and the art of making timepieces. Clocks, watches, clockwork, sundials, hourglasses, timers, time recorders and marine chronometers are all examples of instruments used to measure time.

People interested in horology are called horologists. That term is used both by people who deal professionally with timekeeping apparatus (watchmakers, clockmakers), as well as aficionados and scholars of horology. Horology and horologists have numerous organizations, both professional associations and more scholarly societies.

There are numerous museums dedicated to clocks and timekeeping. Here are a few of them:

The Royal Greenwich Observatory, which is also the source of the Prime Meridian (longitude 0° 0′ 0″), and the home of the first marine timekeepers accurate enough to determine longitude (invented by 18th century master clockmaker, John Harrison).

The Clockmakers’ Museum in London, England, is believed to be the oldest collection specifically of clocks and watches in the world. The collection belongs to and is administered by the Clockmakers’ Charity, affiliated to the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, founded in 1631 by Royal Charter.  Since 2015 it has been housed in a gallery provided by the Science Museum in South Kensington. The collection includes an astronomical table clock by Samuel Watson, possibly belonging to Isaac Newton and a Smiths wristwatch worn by Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Mount Everest.

The Museum of Timekeeping, established in 1994, cares for a unique collection of artefacts at the home of the British Horological Institute in the village of Upton, Nottinghamshire. Exhibits include the watch worn by Captain Scott on his ill-fated polar expedition of 1912. You can also hear the voice of the General Post Office’s first Speaking Clock via the original machine itself.

The Cuckooland Museum, previously known as the Cuckoo Clock Museum, is a museum that exhibits mainly cuckoo clocks, located in Tabley, Cheshire, England. The collection comprises 300 years of cuckoo clock-making history, since the very earliest examples made in the 18th to the 21st century.  The museum also hosts a range of Black Forest cuckoo and quail clocks, trumpeter clocks, monks playing bells and other associated musical movements. Cuckooland has more than 700 cuckoo clocks on display of different styles, sizes, manufacturers and ages. Many of the timekeepers are very rare and the collection contains the best examples of the cuckoo clockmaker’s art. They have a “cuckoo and echo” clock that emulates the whistles and bellows the bird makes in the wild and is thought to be one of only six in the world. Other rarities include; picture frame cuckoo clocks, several timepieces with a life-size automaton cuckoo bird on top of the case, models combined with paintings of people or animals with blinking or flirty eyes, etc.

Famous clocks include:

The Corpus Clock, Cambridge
The Corpus Clock is one of the most distinctive public monuments in Cambridge and has been admired by residents and tourists since its inauguration in 2008. It is an unusual device for the measurement of time being both hypnotically beautiful and deeply disturbing.

The timepiece was designed by John Taylor, a clock collector and lifelong inventor. The device can do surprisingly un-clocklike things. The pendulum speeds up, slows down, and sometimes stops, but returns to the correct time every five minutes. “I wanted a clock that would play with you,” Taylor says.

The face of the clock is plated in pure gold and the radiating ripples allude to the Big Bang, the central impact that formed the universe and could be considered as the beginning of time. Sitting atop the clock is an extraordinary monster, a giant fanged insect called the ‘Chronophage’, meaning ‘time-eater’. For that is what the Chronophage does, devouring each minute as it passes with a snap of its jaws. It evolves out of a grasshopper, a term used by the 18th-century horologist John Harrison to describe his invention of an escapement which was a strictly functional innovation and usually hidden inside a clock’s mechanism.

The Corpus Clock has no hands or digital numbers and at first it appears difficult to tell the time. However, there are 3 rings of LEDs, which reading from the innermost ring show hours, minutes and seconds. When an hour is struck there is no chiming of bells, but rather the shaking of chains and a hammer hitting a wooden coffin. Time passes and we all die, a fact further represented by the Latin inscription underneath, mundus transit et concupiscentia eius, meaning ‘the world and its desires pass away’. Taylor designed the clock to remind himself of his own mortality.

The Wishing Fish Clock, Cheltenham
Christopher ‘Kit’ Williams, born in 1946, is a Stroud artist, illustrator and author best known for his 1979 book Masquerade. In 1985, Kit Williams designed the Wishing Fish Clock as the centrepiece for Regent Arcade shopping centre in Cheltenham. At more than 45 feet tall it is believed to be the tallest mechanical clock in the world!

The clock features an illusion with a goose seemingly laying a never-ending stream of golden eggs and includes a family of mice that are continually trying to evade the snake sitting on top of the clock. Hanging from the base of the clock is a large wooden fish that blows bubbles every half-hour along to the tune of I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.

 

Big Ben
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London; the name is frequently extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower. The tower was designed by Augustus Pugin in a neo-Gothic style. When completed in 1859, its clock was the largest and most accurate four-faced striking and chiming clock in the world. The tower stands 315 feet (96 m) tall, and the climb from ground level to the belfry is 334 steps. Its base is square, measuring 39 feet (12 m) on each side. Dials of the clock are 23 feet (7.0 m) in diameter. The hour hand is 9 feet (2.7 m) long and the minute hand is 14 feet (4.3 m) long.

Big Ben is the largest of the tower’s five bells and weighs 13.7 tonnes. Four quarter bells chime at 15, 30 and 45 minutes past the hour and just before Big Ben tolls on the hour. The clock uses its original Victorian mechanism, but an electric motor can be used as a backup.

Now look at these example poems on the theme:

Clocks – Annie Davison (Annie is a top 15 winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2019)
https://poems.poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/clocks-2/

Clocks – Carl Sandburg (6th January 1878 – 22nd July 1967. An American poet, biographer, journalist and editor. Won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for a biography of Abraham Lincoln. This is a free verse experimental poem about the kinds of clocks the poet observes)
https://internetpoem.com/carl-sandburg/clocks-poem/

Sonnet 19 – William Shakespeare (the link includes a modern text version; the rhyme scheme of the original poem is abab cdcd efef gg)
https://www.sparknotes.com/nofear/shakespeare/sonnets/sonnet_19/

Think about the form, patterns and repetitions in the poems, the ‘word music’, what each poem is saying to the reader, how you feel when you read them, etc.

EXERCISE THREE: Write a poem inspired by the theme of HOROLOGY / THE STUDY OF TIME AND TIMEPIECES

This part is about writing your poem. Here are some suggestions:

Write a personification poem from the point of view of a clock or timepiece. It could be your own, someone else’s or one of the famous clocks listed here. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? Memories? Ambitions? Think about its mechanism – what makes it tick…

Write a poem inspired by the theme that evokes a personal memory for you / think about clocks left as heirlooms or given as gifts.

Write a poem considering your relationship to clocks and time-keeping, the act of wearing time on your wrist, the passage of time…

Write a poem considering if your notions and feelings towards time changed during lockdown – lack of structure and timed routines, body clocks out of synch, the world still moving on in time…

Your poem could be written in the form and/or style of one of the example poems – using the free form style of a list as in Annie Davison’s poem Clocks; the experimental style of Clocks by Carl Sandburg; the formal structure and rhyme scheme of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 19.

And, of course, you are perfectly free to write about the theme in your own way and in your own style!

Take your time and enjoy!
© Sara-Jane Arbury

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England and the Garfield Weston Foundation for supporting the Festival’s Community Programme


Segments June Workshop. Theme: Jigsaws or Dissectology

EXERCISE ONE: A warm-up writing exercise called Creative Creatures

There have been numerous articles appearing in the news of animals leaving their usual abodes during lockdown and taking up residence in towns and cities, for example, a herd of mountain goats wandered around Llandudno, eating garden hedges and sleeping in the local churchyard. Here are some pictures from around the world:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2020/apr/22/animals-roaming-streets-coronavirus-lockdown-photos

Write a piece from a creature’s point of view – animal, bird, insect, reptile, fish – during this strange time. What would it say? What changes does it notice? How would it change its behaviour in these new circumstances? What would it do that’s different? What would it think about their environment now? Would it know what is happening? Think about the personality your creature might have, its opinions, thoughts, likes, dislikes, dreams, ambitions, pet hates.

Initially, this will be a piece of free-writing / free flowing writing for 6 minutes. Do not take your pen off the page, just keep going. If you get stuck, repeat the sentence you just wrote until something else comes. When the time is up, you will have some raw material to shape into a poem later. Why not submit your finished poem to the lockdown poems page on the LPF website?

A good resource for free-writing is a book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it, she introduces the idea of writing like this every morning – she calls it ‘morning pages’. Here’s a link to Julia Cameron’s morning pages and a short informative film about them:
https://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

EXERCISE TWO: The theme for this writing exercise is DISSECTOLOGY or DOING JIGSAW PUZZLES

From Left to Right: John Spilsbury’s “Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc.” (1766); wooden jigsaw pieces cut by hand, a puzzle without a picture, the Guinness record holding 551,232 piece jigsaw by CYM Group, 3D jigsaw puzzle; “whimsy” piece in a wooden jigsaw puzzle.

Sales of jigsaw puzzles have sky-rocketed during lockdown, comparable to the Great Depression of the 1930s. They are a cheap, long-lasting, recyclable form of entertainment, as well as providing excellent stimulation for brain and memory functions. Jigsaw manufacturers are now marketing jigsaw puzzles as ‘screen savers’ and part of the ‘Anti-Screen Revolution’ – they are a prime example of ‘real play’ and powerful tools to build ‘digital resilience’.

John Spilsbury (1739 – 1769), a British cartographer and engraver, is credited as the inventor of the jigsaw puzzle. Spilsbury created such puzzles for educational purposes and called them “Dissected Maps”. He made his first puzzle in 1766 as an educational tool to teach geography. He affixed a world map to wood and carved each country out to create the first puzzle.

There is more information about the history, construction and variations of jigsaw puzzles in Wikipedia (which incidentally has a logo of an incomplete globe made up of jigsaw puzzle pieces – the missing pieces symbolizing the room to add new knowledge) here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jigsaw_puzzle

Information about the health benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles can be found here:
https://classifieds.usatoday.com/uncategorized/the-surprising-benefits-of-puzzle-solving-for-adults/

I was very interested to discover the Benevolent Confraternity of Dissectologists (BCD), a club for followers of Jigsaw Puzzles based in the UK. It’s open to all like-minded enthusiasts world-wide and more information can be found here: https://www.thebcd.co.uk/

The BCD chairman, David Shearer, has set up an accompanying website called The Jigasaurus which is a library/museum of jigsaw puzzles:
http://www.thejigasaurus.com/jigasaurus/main.php

Make notes on the information that you find – your thoughts, feelings, sparked memories, anything you find interesting or unusual, anything that gives you the stirring of inspiration about the theme.

EXERCISE THREE: Writing Jigsaw Puzzle Poetry

Your task is to write a poem inspired by the theme of Jigsaw Puzzles. You may use any of the aforementioned resources as inspiration. Here are some further thought guides and suggestions:

Consider why writing poetry is similar to doing a jigsaw puzzle – you think about each piece of a poem as you put it together; fit words together to create a whole poem; think about the shape and structure of the poem; build the poem up; analyze each piece; play around with words until it all fits together properly; a poem is made up of interlocking and connecting parts…

Former US Poet Laureate Rita Dove described her writing process as “similar to assembling a jigsaw puzzle.”

Read the following poems:

‘Jigsaw Of Life’ by Goldfinch60:
https://mypoeticside.com/show-poem-80043
(Comment from the author: I bought a jigsaw puzzle for my wife hoping it might help her in coming to terms with her dementia – it does keep her more occupied, some of the more meaningless things that she gets involved in. These words came to mind)

‘Sam’s Poem For Jigsaw Puzzles’ by Sam Robinson
https://hope1032.com.au/stories/station-news/2020/surviving-isolation-through-poetry-who-knew-a-man-could-love-jigsaw-puzzles-this-much/
(scroll down to see it and hear him recite it on Hope Radio)

Writing a poem inspired by jigsaw puzzles may lend itself to a particular style and form, for example, the Terza Rima – literally meaning ‘three rhymes’ and, in its most basic form, comprising a series of three-line stanzas with an aba, bcb, cdc, ded etc rhyme scheme. This sets up a chain of interlocking sounds throughout the poem.

The poem, ‘Acquainted With The Night’ by Robert Frost is an example of a terza rima sonnet – 4 three-line stanzas followed by a couplet at the end, aba, bcb, cdc, ded, ee.  More information about writing a Terza Rima poem and the text of Robert Frost’s poem can be found here:
https://classicalpoets.org/2017/01/05/how-to-write-a-terza-rima-with-examples/

You may wish to write a personification poem from the point of view of a jigsaw or puzzle piece. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? What are its memories? Ambitions?

Write a poem inspired by the theme that evokes a personal memory for you. What are the ‘interlocking’ pieces or puzzling moments in your life? / What connects to make up ‘the bigger picture’ for you?

Imagine you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle but you have no idea what the finished picture will be. What will appear as you put the pieces together? Can this be a metaphor for something else in your life?

Have a go at writing your Jigsaw Puzzle poem using a structured poetic form, for example, rhyming couplets, a terza rima or terza rima sonnet

And, of course, you can write a poem about the theme in your own way and your own style!
© Sara-Jane Arbury

Are you pleased with your poems? I’m sure the BCD would be very pleased to receive Jigsaw Puzzle poems for their newsletter ! https://www.thebcd.co.uk/

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England the Garfield Weston Foundation for supporting the Festival’s Community Programme

Participants’ poetry inspired by this session


Segments May Workshop. Theme: Bread

EXERCISE ONE: A warm-up writing exercise called Home Alive
This is an exercise in personification. Imagine your abode is speaking to you during lockdown. What would it say? Does it like you being there / living in it? Your choice of decoration? How you live? Does it compare you to past residents who have lived there before you? Think about its opinions, thoughts, likes, dislikes, dreams, ambitions, pet hates. Now write a monologue from the point of view of your home as it addresses you directly.

You might like to listen to the podcast Everything Is Alive featuring interviews with inanimate objects eg: Louis, the Can of Cola; Maeve the Lamppost.
“…hilarious – and strangely moving.” (The Guardian)
https://www.everythingisalive.com/

You may wish to write your monologue in the form of a poem and submit it to the lockdown poems page on the LPF website.

EXERCISE TWO: The theme for this writing exercise is BREAD
There has been a marked shortage of flour and yeast in the shops during lockdown as people embrace the art of baking their own bread! Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods – evidence from 30,000 years ago in Europe and Australia shows primitive forms of bread-making. Here are some pictures to get you in the mood for writing about this subject:

A 15th century North Italian bread shop; steps to make unleavened tortillas; baking bread in East Timor; a dough trough used for leavening bread located in Aberdour Castle in Scotland; starter yeast (the ‘mother’); various loaves of bread made by my friend, Paul Baker (aptly named!)

Think about the significance of bread – its religious, social, political and cultural meanings and associations.

Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

Omar Khayyam from ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’
https://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/blog/2011/04/11/omar-khayyam-here-with-a-loaf-of-bread-beneath-the-bough-2/

Think about the words and phrases we use concerning bread – our daily bread; the staff of life; know which side one’s bread is buttered; the best thing since sliced bread; take the bread out of someone’s mouth; earn your bread and butter; bread basket (stomach); living on the breadline; to break bread with someone; being the bread-winner; use your loaf of bread (‘head’ in Cockney Rhyming Slang). The word ‘companion’ comes from Latin com ‘with’ + panis
‘bread’. Medieval bakers used ale barm, the yeast left over from the brewing process, to bake sweet-tasting bread. The leavening agent was called ‘barm’ and its unpredictability gives us the word ‘barmy’.

Think about the words we use when making dough and baking bread – proving, kneading, resting, stretching, folding, feeding the mother… Here’s an article that appeared in the March edition of Ledbury Focus magazine about the trials and tribulations of keeping a sourdough starter by Geraldine Woods-Humphrey (scroll through and find it on P.51):
https://issuu.com/grapevinepublications/docs/ledbury_focus_march_2020_v3

Now read the following poems from the Bread Poetry project based in Bristol. Follow this link and scroll down to read them:
https://www.lukejerram.com/breadpoetry/

‘The Battle To Be A Breadwinner’ by Lizzy Lawrence (She says: My poem is about the pressures of being able to provide and survive as a young, single mother. Although I have come through the other side now, my poem addresses the hard work it took to get there and the sacrifices a teacher makes at the expense of their own children and well-being. I wanted to highlight these issues and dispel myths about teenage mums and people on benefits. The title uses a metaphor for providing – as well as linking to the loaf of bread – it also symbolises a difficult time for me when I couldn’t afford food).

‘Blue Hour’ by Cheryl Pearson (She says: I am interested in exploring different kinds of creativity, and am particularly fascinated by practical creativity such as baking and knitting. A lot of my poems are concerned with where we come from and what we pass on, not just genetically but practically – in this case, a recipe, a craft. The poem is thirteen lines long to represent the baker’s dozen).

EXERCISE THREE: Writing Bread Poetry
Your task is to write a poem inspired by the theme of Bread. You may use any of the aforementioned resources and thought guides as inspiration too. Here are some suggestions:

Write a personification poem from the point of view of a loaf of bread / a breadcrumb / the ‘mother’ starter yeast etc. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? What are its memories? What are its ambitions?

Write a poem inspired by the theme that evokes a personal memory for you, for example, Ronnie Corbett’s father was a baker on a night shift. Ronnie’s memories can be read here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/24/foodanddrink.baking11

Write an ode (love poem) to bread. Make it as OTT as you like!

Write a poem in the style and form of one of the example poems. Think about the form of the poem and how it fits with what the poem is saying, for example, Cheryl Pearson wrote her poem ‘Blue Hour’ in 13 lines (6 couplets + 1 line) to reflect the baker’s dozen. Would you like to have a go at doing that with your poem? Does it suit your poem to have verses? Does it work better using rhyme schemes or in free verse? Think about ‘word music’ and the flow of the poem.

And of course, you may write a poem about the theme in your own way and your own style!

© Sara-Jane Arbury

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission? Maybe your warm up exercise 1 is suitable?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England the Garfield Weston Foundation for supporting the Festival’s Community Programme

Participants’ poetry inspired by this session


Segments April Workshop. Theme: The Vinyl Revolution!

Welcome to the April meeting of Segments! Fifteen people met on 15 April, many had never used zoom before,

and it all went without a hitch! Many thanks go to Sara Jane Arbury who held the group in her characteristic energetic style. Here follows the transcript of the session, which you can follow at home. If you wish to attend any of the forthcoming sessions (dates on the poster at the bottom of the page), please get in touch with the Festival Manager, below.

Segments is a regular poetry workshop which normally gains inspiration from artefacts from Ledbury’s Butcher Row museum, and uses them as springboards for poetry, memories and discussion. This week, however, Sara Jane has mined her own artefacts, and provided pictures of her trusty music players over the ages! The sessions are free, drop-in, and need no former experience. All are welcome.

EXERCISE ONE: A warm-up writing exercise called A Window Into Our Lives

Position yourself by a window and describe the view you can see in detail. It is important you really study the view and absorb yourself in it. Your description must include something near to you; something in the distance; something you haven’t noticed before; something that isn’t there – be as imaginative as you like about this!

If you want to time this exercise, give yourself 10 minutes.

EXERCISE TWO: As it would have been World Record Store Day on Saturday 18th April (now postponed until 20th June 2020), the theme for this writing exercise is THE VINYL REVOLUTION / MUSIC MACHINES

Here are some pictures of my record player, Sony Walkman, CD player and iPod, as well as some LP records including my mum’s Me and my Shadows (Cliff Richard and the Shadows) record from 1960, my Nan’s 1957 yellow vinyl LP Holiday in Italy and the original movie soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever (1977)!

Make notes about these items – your thoughts, feelings, memories that are evoked by the items and your associations with the theme in general.

Now read the following poems: Ode To The Vinyl Record – Thomas R. Smith https://wordsfortheyear.com/2015/11/01/ode-to-the-vinyl-record-by-thomas-r-smith/ Your Record Store – Liz Ahl https://lizahl.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/a-poem-for-record-store-day-2015/ and Ode To A Record Player – John Neesan http://www.teenink.com/poetry/all/article/68705/Ode-to-a-Record-Player/

EXERCISE THREE: Writing About THE VINYL REVOLUTION / MUSIC MACHINES

Your task is to write a poem inspired by the items and/or the theme. Here are some suggestions:

Write a personification poem from the point of view of one of the items. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? What are its memories? What are its ambitions?

Write a poem inspired by the items and/or theme that evokes a personal memory for you.

Write an ode (love poem) to one of the items. Make it as over-the-top as you like!

Write a poem in the style and form of one of the example poems. Think about the form of the poem and how it fits with what the poem is saying. Does it suit the poem to have verses? Does it work better using rhyme schemes or in free verse?

Write a poem about the items and/or the theme in your own way and your own style!

© Sara-Jane Arbury

 

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission? Maybe your warm up exercise 1 is suitable?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England the Garfield Weston Foundation

Participants’ poetry inspired by this session


March Segments workshop which would have taken place on Wednesday 18th March in Ledbury’s Burgage Hall

EXERCISE ONE: A warm-up writing exercise – nothing too major – just a quick exercise to wake your brain and get your pens moving. It’s called the Ten-to-One Story.

Pick a story title from the list (or choose a random number between 1 and 100, pick that title and use it for your story).

Write the title you are using at the top of your paper. Now write your story. But there are rules! Your story must only have ten sentences. The first sentence must have exactly ten words. The second must have nine, the third must have eight, and so on, until the final sentence only has one word.

Now choose a different title and try writing a One-To-Ten Story or even a Twenty-To-One Story!

This exercise forces you to be aware of the words that you use, the impact of each one and the techniques of editing.

With thanks to The Floor Is Lava – Ivan Brett.

EXERCISE TWO: The theme for this poetry exercise is LIGHTING.

We would have examined items from The Butcher Row House Museum for this exercise. Instead I have attached some pictures of lighting and old lamps for you to look at and gain inspiration for your writing. Make notes about the items – your thoughts, feelings, memories that are evoked by the items and your associations with the theme in general.

Clockwise from top left: Arabian Lamp, Diwali lights, Gas Lamp-post, Scooter Lights, Rusty Kerosene Lamp, Miners’ Lamps, Old Lamps

Now read the following poems: The Lights by Miriam Nash (scroll down link) ; A Thousand Hours by Paul Farley; Power Cut by Victoria Gatehouse, Power Cut follows a poetic form of 8 stanzas – 3 lines in Stanza 1, 2 lines in Stanza 2, 3 lines in Stanza 3 and so on in this alternating pattern to the end of the poem.  

EXERCISE THREE: Writing About LIGHTING

Your task is to write a poem inspired by the items and/or the theme. Here are some suggestions:

Write a personification poem from the point of view of an item. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? What are its memories? What are its ambitions?

Write a poem inspired by the theme that evokes a personal memory for you.

Write a poem in the style and form of one of the example poems.

Write a poem about the items and/or the theme in your own way and your own style!

© Sara-Jane Arbury

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England the Garfield Weston Foundation

Participants’ poetry inspired by this session